5 ways to calm Christmas stress and worries

Where has the year gone? The shops have already filled their shelves with Christmas goods even though it seems like we had Christmas just three months ago!
 
Unfortunately Christmas time can be filled with worries and stress for a lot of us. Maybe you’re worried about whether Josh will lose his temper and end up in an argument with uncle Norm on Christmas day just like he did last year. Or you might be worried about Aunty Rita drinking too much and telling embarrassing family secrets or maybe you’re stressed out financially with all the festive demands.
 
Here are some easy tips to help you put those worries to rest so you can get back to enjoying preparations for the festive season.
 
First of all, let’s have a look at worry and what it’s all about. Worry is being aware of situations that can put us in danger. This has been essential for our survival and evolution. When fear triggers the emotional brain, it fixates on the problem at hand, working out how it’s going to affect us and coming up with solutions to address all possibilities.
 
And that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do: focus on things that could go wrong, work out plans to deal with each scenario and then focus on the outcomes we want. The problem is that we don’t usually leave it there and we tend to get stuck in a cycle of focusing on the problem. The difficulty with chronic, repetitive worries is that they recycle on and on and never get any nearer a positive solution, keeping us stuck in a negative mindset.
 
Next, let’s look at some simple strategies to help you put things into perspective and snap out of that depressing cycle of worrying thoughts:
 

1. Identify the worries and catch them as early on as possible so you can address them before they become obsessive.

Do a self-check and notice physical signs of anxiety and worry such as sweaty palms, increased heart rate, hot flushes, fidgeting and inability to sit still. Then ask yourself what you’re thinking so that you can change your negative thoughts to positive ones instead.
 

2. Identify any Twisted Thinking’ – these are unhelpful thoughts that make you feel more stressed and negative than you need to be.

I’ve written several articles on types of Twisted Thinking, have a look at All-or-Nothing Thinking or find out more about Negative Mental Filters.
 

3. Use relaxation methods to help calm yourself down.

One of these is deep breathing where you take 3-5 deep breaths. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts and breathe out for 5 counts.  Another mindfulness technique is to ask yourself what you can touch, see, hear, smell and taste. These methods gives you a ‘brain break’ where you get out of your head and really focus on your physical surroundings, bringing you back into the present.
 

4. Take a step back and objectively consider your worries.

Is it likely that the worrying event will actually happen?  If you think back, you’ll realise that the large majority of things you worry about never actually happen.
 

5. Remind yourself that our brains are wired to focus on threats and risks and so we tend to focus on the worst case scenario.

It’s important not to get stuck in this track and to consider all alternative outcomes (positive and negative).
 
Hopefully this has helped you put your worries into perspective, leaving you more relaxed and free to enjoy your Christmas celebrations and holiday :-).
 
Anky's HeadshotIf you need some more advice on helping you cope with stress, anxiety and negative thinking in general, then I can help! My name is Anky and I’m an experienced life coach and positive parenting coach. I help people make positive changes, achieve their goals and have better relationships and more harmonious families. I’m different from other life coaches due to the fact that my experience and qualifications allow me to work with people holistically on all aspects of their lives, both professionally and personally. Additionally, if you are a parent, I can help you navigate that tricky road too!
Take action now to help you make positive improvements and book a time online.